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Inside her head: the music of Bethany Younge

  • Spectrum 70 Flushing Avenue Brooklyn, NY, 11205 United States (map)

Presented by Nina Dante and the 2019 Female Composers Festival

On Friday March 22nd, you are invited inside the head of composer Bethany Younge. You will be TRANSPORTED BY A STRANGE BEAUTY. You will be EXCITEDLY DISORIENTED. You will experience the balance of RISK AND STUDIED PURPOSE.

The vehicle: a portrait concert curated and MCd by Younge’s close collaborator soprano Nina Dante and presented by the 2019 Female Composers Festival at Spectrum.

The music of Bethany Younge is raw. It deals with the body, the unique vocal expression and physicality of Younge herself, questions of identity when as much conditioning is stripped away as possible,  and the bizarre theater that is born of all this. It is music that becomes desperately personal to the performer, as Younge composes with the essence of specific humans in mind. The brilliance of it all is its uroboric quality: in the end, Younge’s creations always circle back to be a representation of themselves.

Live performances by flutist Laura Cocks and soprano Nina Dante playing works written for them by Younge (Oxygen and Reality, ALAMARGO); a screened performance of Fonema Consort performing Bodyscape; a performance by Bethany Younge herself; and concluding with Yourselves playing the role of a hoard of Bethanies in her work for leader and crowd, If I am here than surely we’d know it. And of course, there will be discussion.

Speech Factory, mvt iv
Oxygen and Reality
If I were here than we’d know it


Bethany Younge

Bethany Younge is an American composer of both acoustic and electroacoustic works with extensive collaborative experience with artists from other disciplines. Many of her acoustic works seek to mimic both speech and sound poetry with instruments while also dissecting words to reveal individual phonemes, illuminating a world embedded with complex semiotical relations between the spoken word and what is interpreted to be “music.” Her explorations in speech have led her to find her words, her voice, and create compelling situations where performers may do the same.

Younge is currently pursuing her DMA in Music Composition at Columbia University in New York, New York. She has received a Masters degree in Music Composition from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, The Netherlands and a Bachelors degree in Music Composition from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She has studied composition closely with Richard Barrett, Martijn Padding, Yannis Kyriakides, Peter Adriaansz, Lewis Nielson, and Seung-Ah Oh.

Younge has been selected to attend many workshops, residencies, and festivals including Resonant Bodies, High Concept Laboratories, Avaloch Music Institute, Listhus, Labo Montreal, Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, CNMF, Gaudeamus, The 16th International Young Composers Meeting, and more. She has worked with professional ensembles including Jack Quartet, ASKO Shönberg Ensemble, KLANG, Orkest de Ereprijs, Fonema Consort, Andplay, Rage Thormbones, Mocrep and others throughout Europe and the USA. In 2016, Younge was awarded the Stipend Prize at the International Summer Course for New Music Darmstadt.

Nina Dante

Soprano Nina Dante is a soloist, chamber musician, and improviser based in New York City. She is interested in musical experimentation and the continual discovery of the voice’s technical ability and emotive power.

Dante is co-founder and soprano of Fonema Consort which specializes in avant-garde chamber music for voice and instruments, with special focus on the music of Latin American composers. Her work in new music involves constant collaboration with composers to expand modern vocal repertoire and technique.

Dante has participated in residencies and given performances at Harvard University, Oberlin Conservatory, UC Berkeley, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, Scripps College, the 113 Composers Collective, New England Conservatory, Drew University, North Central College, Saint Xavier University, and High Concept Laboratories.

She has performed in festivals and concert series including Resonant Bodies, BAM, Lampo, Contempo, Performa, Indexical, Visiones Sonoras, the Festival Internacional Chihuahua, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo, the Experimental Sound Studio, New Music Miami, the Latino Music Festival, the Frequency Festival, the Ear Taxi Festival, the Goethe Institut, the Renaissance Society of Chicago, and National Sawdust.

Dante’s improvisational and compositional practices gives her the opportunity to explore the expanding boundaries of her own voice and musical impulses.

She can be heard on Fonema Consort albums Pasos en otra calle (New Focus Recordings) and FIFTH TABLEAU (Parlour Tapes+).

Laura Cocks

Laura Cocks is a New York based flutist who works in a wide array of creative environments as a performer and promoter of contemporary music. Laura is the flutist and executive director of TAK ensemble, and a member of the Nouveau Classical Project and the Association of Dominican Classical Artists. She has performed across the Americas and Europe as a soloist and chamber musician in ensembles such as The London Sinfonietta, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Talea Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, and Ensemble Dal Niente. Laura can be heard with TAK, International Contemporary Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, and others on labels such as Carrier Records, ECM, New Focus Recordings, Sound American, Denovali Records, Orange Mountain Music, and Gold Bolus.